The Morning Brew: The 6 levels of the Enhanced Fujita scale, explained
Good morning. Here's a dose of tornado knowledge to start your week:
What is the Enhanced Fujita scale?
It's a rating system used to measure the strength of tornadoes.
Read more about how it works:
Let's start with the basics and move on to the weakest rating out there today.
You can't tell a tornado's strength, in the scientific sense, by looking at it.
Instead, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a twister's strength is classified by the damage it leaves behind. Damage teams sent by the National Weather Service in Norman do assessment work in the OKC metro.
T. Theodore Fujita introduced the Fujita scale to classify twisters in 1971, according to NOAA. The more precise Enhanced Fujita scale has been in use since 2007 and takes into consideration 28 damage indicators, including areas the original scale didn't consider, like the construction quality of tornado-damaged structures.
That brings us to EF-0.
These lowest-ranked twisters throw off gales between 65 to 85 miles per hour. These wind speeds damage chimneys, break branches, uproot shallow-rooted trees and damage sign boards.
Weatherworn Oklahomans might call it a breeze.
An EF-1 classification signifies a weak tornado with gusts between 86 and 110 mph. A twister of this strength can push over mobile homes and blow cars off roads.
An EF-2 tornado's winds reach speeds between 111 and 135 mph. In real life, mobile homes in its path may be smashed, big trees smashed or uprooted and cars are lifted off of the ground.
While the below photo represents damage under the original F-rating system, it gives you an idea of the type of damage caused by an EF-2:
It gets ugly when an EF-3 comes to town.
Wind speeds between 136 and 165 mph can rip roofs and walls off well-constructed homes, overturn trains, pluck trees from forests and lift and toss heavy cars.
Devastation reigns when wind speeds hit between 166 and 200 mph.
Per Weather Underground, this brand of storm can level well-constructed homes and turn cars into missiles.
An EF-5 tornado can wipe a home clean off its foundation with wind speeds of more than 200 mph. Cars may fly through the air at speeds that top 100 mph.